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Rae maintained the convention underscores the difference between the Liberals and the more ideologically driven Tories and NDP, whom he described as dogmatic adherents to rigid "orthodoxies."

Lavoie acknowledged the Tories will doubtless pounce on Nike Janoski Max Black White

The party will create a new class of Liberal "supporters" anyone willing to register as believers in core Liberal values who will not have to pay a fee for a membership card to participate in leadership contests.

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Martin Cauchon, the justice minister who introduced decriminalization, said Sunday he believes legalization is inevitable but that Canadians would be more comfortable with decriminalizing pot as a first step.

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They also endorsed a non binding directive that all Liberal nomination contests be open, other than specified exceptions recommended by the leader and approved by the party's national executive. Currently, the leader has the unfettered power to appoint an unlimited number of candidates and to protect incumbents from nomination challenges.

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Many delegates said they were longtime Liberal supporters who had never bothered to become active in the party until last May's election rout put its very survival in question.

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on Canada to consider cutting its ties to the monarchy, an idea that would open a constitutional can of worms.

"I personally think we Liberals should stop worrying about what the Conservatives will think about our policy and approach," he said, noting that diehard Tories will never vote Liberal in any event.

Delegates also supported reforming the country's electoral system, agreeing to promote the idea of preferential balloting in federal elections, rather than the current first past the post system. Preferential ballots, in which voters rank candidates, would ensure that only those who receive more than 50 per cent of the vote in their ridings would Nike Shoes Janoski be elected to the House of Commons.

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Until now, Liberals have called only for decriminalization of marijuana, as has the NDP. The new call to legalize it completely and regulate its production and sale, much as is done with alcohol, is in stark contrast to the governing Conservatives, who've included stiffer penalties for marijuana possession in their omnibus tough on crime bill.

Rae told delegates it makes no sense "to send another generation of young people into prison" for marijuana offences when "the most addictive substances that are facing Canada today are alcohol and cigarettes."

"Let's face up to it, Canada, the war on drugs has been a complete bust," Rae declared in a closing speech to a three day Liberal renewal convention.

Both the marijuana and monarchy resolutions were put forward by the party's youth wing, which argued that the Liberal party needs to advance bold ideas that are more reflective of young people if it is to revive.

Under Jean Chretien's government, the Liberals introduced legislation to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketing, rather than criminal, offence. The bill was not pursued when Paul Martin took over the helm of the party and the Harper government has since dropped the idea entirely, moving in the opposite direction.

With an overwhelming 77 per cent of delegates voting for legalization, Lavoie predicted: "I think it is really difficult for anyone to just ignore the result and the will of the membership."

If no one received over half of the votes right off the bat, the last place candidate in a riding would be eliminated, with his or her supporters' second choices then being tallied. The process would continue until one candidate emerged with more than 50 per cent.

Wrapping up the convention, Rae heralded the two moves as a sign the chastened Liberal party is reaching out and renewing itself after last May's humiliating rout, when the party was reduced to a third party rump with only 34 seats.

While they were willing to take some risks, delegates balked at a resolution calling Nike Sb Janoski Girl

The legalized pot resolution came on the heels of another potentially risky gamble for the Liberals. After a heated debate late Saturday, delegates agreed to invite all liberal minded Canadians to take part in choosing the party's next leader.

Despite some evidence of lingering internal feuds, with the Copps Crawley presidential fight seen by many as a proxy for the old Chretien Martin wars, the mood of the convention was primarily optimistic and forward looking. About 3,200 registered to attend, the largest turnout for a non leadership Liberal convention since 1978.

there are some practical questions we have to look at."

"We're talking to Canadians. The fact is that this is a sensible policy, evidence based policy that is very easy to defend . There is cross partisan support among non Conservative voters for this so we feel this is something that will get us votes."

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"We're willing to push the envelope and we have the numbers and we have the will power to flex our muscles when it's needed."

"We Liberals have clearly and emphatically said to the people of Canada: 'We embrace change and we embrace all Canadians as we rebuild this great national party."'

"I think that there's a certain amount of generational change happening in the party," said Samuel Lavoie, president of the Liberal youth wing.

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They overwhelmingly approved Sunday a resolution calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana a position immediately endorsed in principle by interim leader Bob Rae, although it remains to be seen how, or if, the resolution translates into a platform plank for the next election.

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Federal Liberals endorse marijuana legalization

the marijuana resolution to lambaste the Liberals as soft on drug crimes.

The marijuana resolution is not binding on the leader or the party. And delegates specifically rejected a proposal to remove the leader's veto over the contents of future election platforms, so there's no guarantee the party will ever actually campaign on the idea of legalizing pot.

"If you want to be part of a group of free thinking, innovative, thoughtful, pragmatic, hopeful, positive, happy people, come and join the Liberal party," he exhorted, adding with a chuckle, "And after the resolution on marijuana today, it's going to be a group of even happier people in the Liberal party."

Delegates further embraced change by choosing Mike Crawley as their new party president. He beat out Sheila Copps, a veteran former cabinet minister whom some Liberals felt symbolized the past by a slim 26 votes.

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Rae later said the resolution "reflects very much the spirit of the convention" and "it's now up to us to take that resolution and see exactly what it will mean in terms of policy, because Nike Sb Janoski Max Grey White

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